Overall experience It was our first cruise with my daughter, son in law and our two granddaughters, aged 4 and 6. We had thought of Disney but had heard it was very noisy and we liked the look of the Pelican area which we had seen on prior Princess cruises and so we decided on the Crown Princess. An additional bonus was that it was going to Grand Cayman where other family members live! We had a thoroughly enjoyable week. The destinations - Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel and Princess Cays were all good choices for young children because they allowed a lot of beach time. We had considered booking an independent excursion from Roatan to see the island but decided that with young children touring around in a car was not a great option. Instead we opted to take them in the chairlift which runs from right near the ship to Mahogany Beach. The experience in the chairlift was a definite plus for the children! The beach was a bit crowded but apart from that was really good because we were able to go back and forth on the chairlift and we went back to the ship for lunch. Cozumel was great. We took a 10 minute taxi ride to Chankanaab National Park and they were able to see sea lions, dolphins and even a manatee. In addition there was a lovely shallow area for the children to swim and it was right beside a climbing area which they loved. Princess Cays was less successful mainly because we had booked 2 clam shells for the day and no one told us that they were fixed and could not be moved. Since they were quite a way from the Pelican play area we simply could not use them and I wasted $48 on the price of renting them. There are plenty of shady areas on the main beach and you don't have to rent clam shells. It was a bit crowded for us (the first time we were actually aware of the huge number of passengers on board) but we could have opted to do other things. The ship
Having been on Emerald and the Ruby Princess (both in their first year) we had got used to the lovely pristine condition of both ships. Crown was fine was is now looking very tired in comparison with the other two. The deck chairs (we had 2 mini suites) really seemed very worn and a couple had holes that looked like cigarette burns. We also found that several things had been thrown over the balconies of cabins above so that they landed on our balconies (on Dolphin). This included a cigar butt. Also the blue "matting" on the balcony was dirty and needed a good scrub. I also noticed a lot of rust under the railings. I think this ship really needs to be spruced up.
Food was good - we used both the Horizon Cafe (for breakfast and lunch) and the Michelangelo dining room for dinner. We had great wait staff (thanks Elena and Olena!) and a very good cabin steward (Albert) who looked after turning down the sofa bed for our two grandchildren.
The staff in the Pelican were wonderful....great ideas for keeping the youngsters occupied...and they did some very interesting crafts e.g. colouring t-shirts and so on. The young ones loved it.
We didn't go to any of the shows so I can't comment - we have really got tired of the Vegas style shows and prefer having classical string quartets playing before and after dinner...and watching movies.
Which brings me to MUTS....This should be an interesting experience but it was not because the SOUND WAS MUCH TOO LOUD! IT WAS DEAFENING and we couldn't wait to get away from the area. Having watched movies on a Med cruise on Ruby Princess I have to say that someone has pumped up the volume and it is no longer an enjoyable experience. Many passengers expressed similar views to me.
My final comment relates to smoking. I would like to see smoking banned entirely from balconies but if passengers are allowed to smoke for goodness sake PLEASE BAN CIGARS! We were constantly having to put up with the stench of cigar smoke coming from several cabins above and along from us. This is quite intolerable in an age when many people are giving up smoking. If people want to smoke insist on their smoking in a controlled room.
Other than that we had a very good cruise. The staff were very good with the grandchildren and I would certainly take them on another Princess cruise. Good destinations (easy for children), good food and great company. PS One final criticism - because of Superbowl activities we were displaced from normal terminal and had to go to a most inconvenient one which was much too small and difficult to get to from the parking building. This is a one off thing but it was REALLY INCONVENIENT.